Our Breastfeeding Memoirs - Chapter Five

From Erica,

I remember sitting in our child birth preparation class and briefly touching on the topic of breastfeeding.  I raised my hand and asked the instructor if she thought a breastfeeding class would be helpful.  She said she didn’t think so- it would probably be best to wait and see what individual issues I might have and then address them with a consultant.  In hindsight, I would have gone to a class, and read every book I could have gotten my hands on.  I was seriously unprepared for breastfeeding and I set myself up- and my son- for a very tough start.

My son was born via an emergency c-section and soon after he was born I asked the nurse if I should try breastfeeding.  Her response was that I had plenty of time to breastfeed.  Over the next 5 days in the hospital, I requested assistance with breastfeeding.  I talked with at least 4 different consultants and many more nurses.  They all offered their own advice on breastfeeding- and their advice varied greatly.  Every night the nurses encouraged me to send my son to the nursery; I was exhausted and allowed him to go for at least part of the night.

My son started to lose weight and the nurses suggested that we give him a little formula, so that he didn’t starve.  The idea that I couldn’t meet my son’s needs made me feel very discouraged and sad.  I felt selfish for wanting to give it more time, but when the hospital pediatrician said he lost too much weight I decided to supplement with formula. 

I was discharged from the hospital with a pack of sample formula bottles, and two very sore, peeling and bleeding nipples.  Over the next few days, I found breastfeeding so painful and frustrating that I cried every time I tried to feed my son.  When I took him to see his pediatrician for the first time, she asked how breastfeeding was going.  Teary-eyed, I responded “not well.”  She suggested that I visit a consultant that had done wonders for other patients.  I made an appointment that day and to my surprise, she was able to latch my son without pain. 

Had it not been for that lactation consultant, I would not have continued to breastfeed my son for the next ten months.  I was never able to get my milk supply to cover his feedings completely, and it slowly decreased after I returned to work, but I was happy that I could give him what I did. 

I am currently breastfeeding my second son, who was born a little over 3 months ago.  My experience with him has been amazing and completely successful.  I decided to take a breastfeeding class before he was born and was so happy that I did because I learned a lot of tips.  After he was born (also via c-section), I asked to put him skin to skin.  I made it clear to everyone who would listen that I was very interested in breastfeeding.  I spent every moment possible close to him and never sent him to the nursery. 

My milk came in before I left the hospital and by the time I took him to his pediatrician, he had already gained back his birth weight.  I currently have an abundance of milk and have at least one week of milk frozen in the freezer.  I returned to work last week and pumping is going well.  I am very hopeful that I will be able to breastfeed him for his first year of life- and am so grateful to be enjoying it this time.        

We would love to hear your breastfeeding memoirs. This is a place to share your triumphs and struggles, your successes and heartbreaks. We need to share our stories. Will you share yours with us?


* Stories can be submitted for publication to this blog by emailing them to me at robinkaplan@sdbfc.com. Please keep them to 200 words or less. Before publication, stories will be edited only for minor spelling/grammatical errors. If the stories will be published in any other medium or venue, other than this blog, your permission will be obtained. Feel free to widely share this post and encourage others to also submit their stories. Deadline for memoir submissions is November 1.